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Wine Industry Discussion Document Published

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton today urged wine industry participants to read a discussion paper on the future of legislation governing the wine industry.

Mr Sutton said the wine industry was a flagship industry for New Zealand in export markets, and it was important that the future of the wine industry was carefully planned.

The value of New Zealand wine exports have increased from around $100,000 in the 1970s to $147 million dollars to the year ended December 1999. Longer term, exports are projected to reach $336 million by 2005.

The discussion document, available from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, aims to clarify the roles and responsibilities of different industry players and to determine the most effective and efficient regulatory regime. It presents four options for the industry's future regulation, ranging from the status quo, industry enforcement of new standards, government enforcement of standards, to all rules - except food safety rules - being voluntary.

Submissions on the discussion paper and its options are being collated by MAF. They should be submitted by 1 February next year.

Mr Sutton said the wine industry had thrived since it moved from a highly protected regime in the 1970s to a more liberal environment now.

"Laws relating to the consumption and sale of alcohol have been progressively liberalised as well.

"Unfortunately, we've now ended up with an unwieldy web of acts governing different parts of the wine industry. To resolve this, I have initiated a review of wine law."

Mr Sutton said that after the submissions were received and proper consultion with industry groups was held, he hoped to have legislation to bring to Parliament next year.


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